What's hot: West winds this past week have made fly-fishing for tarpon along the beaches difficult at best. Fortunately a fair number of fish were working the shoals in protected water inside the bay. Now the winds are offshore again, and as we move past the full-moon spawn the tarpon's thoughts should change from love to lunch in a big way.
What to cast: Smaller flies have been best this season. Tarpon patterns tied on 1/0 and 2/0 hooks seem to be the best producers. Black and purple flies are standard in this area but chartreuse, light brown or tan and orange and grizzly colors are good to have as well. Bunny strip and splayed tail style patterns have been effective.
How to rig up: A 12-weight fly rod with a reel capable of holding a fly line and a minimum of 250 yards of backing is the general rule. Although there are a number of tarpon in the 40- to 60-pound range, the next one you hook may be 160-plus so don't be caught under-tackled.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.